Millions invested in Overtown makeover

MIAMI (WSVN) — Overtown, the historic Miami community known as a cultural mecca for African-Americans, is getting a makeover.

Hundreds of new apartments, dozens of new businesses and a new school are being built in Overtown.

"It’s been a long time coming," said a community redevelopment agent. The changes are thanks to Overtown’s community redevelopment agency, which is using tax dollars collected by both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.

The changes include four brand new affordable housing apartment complexes, and when all the construction is done, there will be more than 400 new apartments and about 600 renovated apartments. Darrick Rudloph, a future resident who works on its construction said, "If you go through the units, the units are nicely sized. They’re nice quality, that material inside of it also."

An old church will now be a community center. "Whatever the community needs and they needed community space, they’ll be able to organize right there in that space," said a community redevelopment agent. The first floor of the new community center will be an extension to Miami-Dade College’s hospitality institute.

And a few blocks away, a brand new building will be the new Frederick Douglas Elementary School, and along Northwest Third Avenue near 11th Street, there are now several small businesses sponsored by the CRA.

"We believe that we have a formula where we can embrace the change and allow for those residents to be an active participant in all the change," said the agent.

And entertainment, which is a major part of Overtown’s history, will not be going anywhere. An old pool hall will soon be a blues and jazz club, and The Lyric Theater will be revamped.

There is a new glimpse of hope in 2016 for the Overtown community. "It’ll change the lifestyle of those who take advantage of it. For those who don’t, who just want to complain, then you’re going to get stuck," said Rudolph.